SOUTH Africa has lost 588 rhinos to poaching in 2012 so far, the Department of Environmental Affairs said on Tuesday.
"The latest rhino poaching statistics indicate that 588 rhino have been lost to poaching since the beginning of this year, with the total number of arrests at 246," the department said in a statement.
The country has lost 140 more rhino than the 448 poached in 2011, while 224 poachers were arrested last year and 165 the year before.
According to the latest figures, 39 rhinos have been killed since the middle of November.
The Kruger National Park has been the hardest hit, with 362 rhinos lost to poaching. The North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo provinces collectively lost 186 rhinos.
Earlier this month, North West Premier Thandi Modise said the South African National Defence Force could be called in to help prevent poaching in the province after it emerged that eight rhinos were killed in North West in one weekend, seven on one farm.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa is still studying a report from rhino issue manager Mavuso Msimang on how South Africa can better protect its rhinos. She has delayed any possible representation to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (Cites) on South Africa trading in stockpiled rhino horn until 2016.
Cites meets next year, but the deadline for submissions to Cites expired before Mr Msimang’s report was finalised.
Ms Modise said there was a need to clamp down on illegally issued hunting permits, and communities in the proximity of game parks and farms had to be educated and be involved in nature conservation, tourism and anti-poaching strategies.
Conservationists are working to thwart gangs who kill about 25,000 elephants each year for their tusks...
(CBS News) Mountain Bull is a six-ton living legend in Kenya. He has evaded poachers many times before. Now hunters are after him again -- for his massive tusks.
They chased him for more than an hour. Finally, the Bull broke cover, and there was a clear shot -- not from a bullet, but a drug-filled dart. These hunters were government veterinarians.
The magnificent bull elephant has already had lots of interaction with poachers. In one incident alone, he was shot eight times -- the slugs are still in his body. But he has survived. Now conservationists and rangers are doing something dramatic: they're taking off part of his tusks in the hopes it will make him less of a target....
Join H.A.N.D.S., OSCAP, The Environmentalists and Nikela to get charges reinstated against Marnus Steyl.
We all cheered when the South African magistrate gave Chumlong Lemongthai a 40-year sentence for rhino poaching, but charges were dropped against his partner in crime Marnus Stuyl, big game hunter and safari operator whose farm is where Chumlong Lemongthai ran his bogus hunting parties.
OSCAP has pro bono attorneys working to reinstate charges against Steyl and our help is needed.
OUR FIRST STEP IS TO E-MAIL OUR REQUEST TO HAVE CHARGES REINSTATED.
TO: firstname.lastname@example.org RE: Reinstate Charges Against Marnus Steyl
To the National Prosecuting Authority:
We request that the National Prosecuting Authority take immediate steps to reinstate charges against Mr. Marnus Steyl.
THE Department of Environmental Affairs on Monday met officials from the North West’s department of environment, conservation and tourism regarding the recent spike in rhino poaching in the province, national department spokesman Albi Modise said on Monday.
North West Premier Thandi Modise, also speaking on Monday, said the South African National Defence Force could be called in to help prevent poaching in the province after it emerged that eight rhinos were killed in North West at the weekend, seven on one farm....
Rhinoceros horns, unlike those of other horned mammals, consist principally of keratin, the same type of protein that makes up hair and fingernails, with dense mineral deposits at the centre . Pharmacological testing at Hoffmann La Roche for IUCN and WWF in1983 published in The Environmentalist concluded that “rhino horn, like fingernails, is made of agglutinated hair and has no analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmolytic nor diuretic properties. No bactericidal effect could be found against suppuration and intestinal bacteria. Essentially, ingesting rhino horn is the same as chewing your own fingernails.” 
VAALKOP DAM NATURE RESERVE, South Africa (AP) — By the time ranchers found the rhinoceros calf wandering alone in this idyllic setting of scrub brush and acacia, the nature reserve had become yet another blood-soaked crime scene in South Africa's...
There is no single solution for rampant rhino poaching because of the enormous sums of money at stake, an activist organisation has asserted.
"All of us want a single solution to be applied: Let's just make it happen and make it go away - the problem, but it's not as simple as that. We're no longer dealing with a conservation issue; we're now dealing with an issue of crime," Dr Morné du Plessis, CEO of the World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF) told News24.
He said that the criminal gangs had massive financial muscle that made poaching rhino a lucrative exercise....
Pretoria - Police on Friday arrested two more suspects in Rustenburg in connection with the poaching of eight rhinos at the Klipkopspruit farm last weekend.
This brings to eight the number of people arrested. Three suspects linked to the incident were tracked down and arrested on Thursday night in central Pretoria, Katlehong and Alberton in Gauteng, while three other suspects, one of whom is a game ranger, were arrested in the Lethabing township on Monday.
Last weekend seven rhinos were found dead at the Klipkopspruit farm and another one was found on Monday.
North West Premier Thandi Modise said this was indicative that police were closing the net around the syndicate responsible for rhino poaching and were getting closer to the kingpins....
With their tough stance, effective regulations and legislation against rhino poaching, Namibia and Botswana might soon become Africa's only rhino sanctuaries.
South Africa's rhino farmers have started to export their rhino to these countries for safekeeping. But once they are there it is virtually impossible to get them back.
Botswana's President Ian Khama has taken a zero-tolerance approach to rhino poaching. It is believed that he has issued "shoot to kill" orders against poachers but his spokesman, Jeff Ramsay, denied this.
"We have at times killed poachers," said Ramsay. "But we certainly don't have a shoot to kill policy."...
North West Premier Thandi Modise is confident that police are closing the net around the syndicate responsible for rhino poaching and are getting closer to the kingpins. This follows the arrest of two more people in Rustenburg on Friday morning bringing to 8 suspects arrested in connection with poaching of eight rhinos in Klipkopspruit farm over the past weekend.
"Though the network of the syndicate of cruelty and brutality against the rhino as a symbol of our ecology and rich heritage is crumbling, we would be satisfied with nothing less than the arrest of the kingpins behind the evil trade in rhino horns. We commend the Hawks' Rhino task team for its determination to clamp down on the scourge of rhino poaching and members of the community for the tip-off that led to this major breakthrough," Premier Modise....
With nearly 600 rhinos killed this year alone – almost double the figure in 2010 – law enforcement agencies and conservation groups are stepping up the fight against rhino poaching.
The Hawks, SA’s directorate for priority crime investigation, joined forces with the department of environmental affairs, rangers and SA National Parks to form the anti-poaching task force three years ago as poaching figures began climbing steeply. They focused their work in the Mpumalanga, North West and KwaZulu-Natal regions, but Hawks spokesman Captain Paul Ramoloka says a recent sharp spike in rhino dehorning and slaughtering at the Kruger National Park has put one of Africa’s largest game reserves under the spotlight....
Jason Ball, Southern Africa director for the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW), says the only way to decisively curb elephant and rhino poaching is through a “global shift in attitudes and values”.
“Biologically, elephants and rhinos simply cannot support an economic model of supply and demand. No wildlife can sustain this type of commercial exploitation, let alone a long-living, slow-growing, slow-breeding species.
“Killing of rhino and elephants will only stop when markets for the products are closed,” Ball says.
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